Established businesses, managed and staffed by experienced financial risk management professionals, lending to people who didn't need to borrow, just like the good old days of "It's a Wonderful Life."
I saw the exploding debt load America was carrying as I was meeting and coaching real people on shows like Dr. Phil. But that's not the point. What to do now is the point.
Going forward, the following investing and money management principles are right on, now more than ever:
1. If you don't understand it, don't invest in it
I'm still a value investor. I don't invest in a stock, I invest in a business. And if I don't understand the business, I don't invest in it. Yes, I thought I understood financial companies better than I did. As it turns out, they didn't understand themselves very well, either.
The lesson remains crystal clear: only invest in businesses you understand. Understand what they buy and sell, and how they make money. But remember this: just because you understand a business doesn't mean it's time to buy it.